Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Foundations and poverty

Philanthropy has taken a bit of heat lately for not doing enough about poverty. First came the Google report that only a small percentage of philanthropic giving goes to poverty alleviation, either domestically or internationally.

Then comes a rejuvenated public discussion (I'd call it a debate but I don't think its happening broadly enough yet) about tax breaks for charitable giving and whether or not they should be aligned in some way with broad public priorities or more generous for poverty and human welfare than for, say, education or the arts.

And I am just ending 3 days in Santa Monica spent at the Professional Leaders Project ThinkTank3, where a select slice of American Jewry is discussing and modeling and creating leadership opportunities for young adults (20 somethings). In this context the discussion of philanthropy and community priorities came up over and over again.

Coincidentally, a few large American foundations (Annie E Casey, EOS) also chose today to launch a new Spotlight on poverty that will attempt to bring the issue to the forefront of the 2008 Presidential campaign. This is a somewhat similar goal to the Strong American Schools campaign funded by the Gates and Broad Foundations to bring education to greater prominence in the discussion.

Check out the Spotlight on Poverty website for a one-stop resource with links to community data, local and national poverty fighting efforts, political viewpoints and platforms as expressed by candidates of both major political parties. Perhaps this effort will join forces with 10Questions, CurrentTV, ThinkMTV, MySpace, and the YouTube debates and actually demand political action.

You can submit information on local efforts, access databases and resources, and follow the discussion as it progresses through the campaign. I hope to get some video footage to post over at the Giving Channel - and look forward to seeing the conversation and discussion provoke engaged, effective action.


Roxana Gheorghe said...

Generosity is common to all societies, races, ethnic group, and religions. Unfortunately, the fortunate ones forget sometimes about less unfortunate people.

Can we do more for the underprivileged? Through philanthorpy/generosity we have the power to build a better society.

We help build a better society by preparing competitive labor force, reducing unemployment among the most impoverished population, and reducing crime. By educating underprivileged youth we will enjoy a more stable, safe and flourishing environment.

There is a huge need for our help. With constant technological development, the American economy needs higher-educated workforce.

According to the Press Release of the U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on June 14, 2007, "Our country's investment in higher education has yielded a tremendous return. Our colleges and universities have given generations of citizens the ability to pursue the American Dream and have long been the envy of the world." "But recent data shows we're in danger of losing that position. By 2012, we will have 3 million more jobs requiring a bachelor's degree and we won't have college graduates to fill them."

Low-income families have increased since 1976, particularly among minorities. The data show that by age 24, less than 9 percent of low-income students have earned a bachelor's degree. Ninety-percent of the fastest-growing jobs require post-secondary education or training. 60 percent of Americans have no post secondary credentials at all. At a time when they needed most it has become more difficult to get one particularly for the low-income and minority students.

According to the Digest of Education Statistics 2006, the median household income in the United States in 2003-2005 was $46,037 per year and in New York State was $46,242. Number of families in poverty with children 5 through 17 years in the USA in 2005 was 8,498,000, which represents 16.1% of the USA population. Similarly, the number of families in poverty with children 5 through 17 years in New York State in 2005 was 657,000, which represents 19.6% of the New York population. The poverty status of families with children under age 18, for black people in the US in 2005 was 3,972, or 33% of the population in poverty; for people of Hispanic origin was 3,977,000 or 27.7% of the total number of people in poverty. Finally, the number of Asian/Pacific Islander people in poverty in 2005 was 312,000 or 11% of the total people in poverty, (Digest of Educations Statistics 2006).

The data showed an approximately constant student enrollment in higher degree institutions between 2004 and 2005 in New York State. In 2005, 60 percent of the students enrolled in higher-degree institutions were whites, 33.4 percent were minority, and 6 percent were nonresident alien. Of the minority students, 13.9 percent were black, 11.3 percent were Hispanic, 7.8 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.4 percent were American Indian/Alaska native. ( Digest of Education Statistics, 2006).

Many of the high schools are failing to prepare students for college and the workforce. Not only do students dropout of school less than half of those who graduate are ready for college-level education. Rigorous preparation in high school is the best way to increase college access and success. However, only four percent of low-income students complete a college prep curriculum.

Nearly 140,000 New York City youth ages 16-21 have dropped out or are significantly off-track for graduation. This population of students is larger in size than any high school district in the country except Los Angeles.

There is a correlation between reading and math score levels, race/ethnicity and poverty levels.

For example, in 2004, there were 80 percent of 17-year-old students at or above 250 reading score level of which 86 percent were whites, 67 percent were blacks, and 64 percent were Hispanic. Similarly, there were 38 percent of 17-year-old students at or above 300 reading score level, of which 45 percent were whites, 17 percent were black, and 20 percent were Hispanic, (Digest of Educations Statistics 2006).

For the 2005-06 academic year, annual prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $10,454 at public colleges and $26,889 at private colleges. Between 1995-96 and 2005-06, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public colleges rose by 30 percent, and prices at private colleges rose by 21 percent, after adjustment for inflation

Partnership for Student Advancement (PSA). PSA helps financially underprivileged high school students, particularly minorities, identify and pursue a career path of their choice. Our goal is giving every one of our students, regardless of personal circumstances, a fair chance at a successful, fulfilling, productive life in a world that increasingly demands unprecedented levels of knowledge and competence.

PSA is prepared to assist financially underprivileged students with college tuition. We empower youth to pursue better education.

Please visit our website at: www.psapartnership.org. Thank you.

Roxana Gheorghe said...

I would like to make a change regarding my previous comment. I apologize for the wording. PSA DOES NOT HELP STUDENTS WITH THE TUITION FOR COLLEGE but helps students find funding sources for higher education.

Thank you and please come and visit our website: www.psapartnership.org

Anonymous said...

Interesting change –

PSA is prepared to assist financially underprivileged students with college tuition. We empower youth to pursue better education.

TO -
PSA DOES NOT HELP STUDENTS WITH THE TUITION FOR COLLEGE but helps students find funding sources for higher education.

Your comment was an obvious cut and paste… Why the change in policy?

Didn’t PSA promise underage children full college tuition in its pilot program only to parade them for charity dinners and photo opportunities?